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So the Community user bumps posts occasionally:

Posts eligible for bumping are those scoring >= 0 that have gone at least 30 days with no activity, have at least one non-deleted answer scoring 0 and none scoring more than that, and no accepted answer (also, they can't be deleted or closed).

The problem I've been finding lately on Hardware Recommendations is that more often than not, this just results in bumping old crap. It selects questions that just about meet the requirements for topicality and specificity, but aren't well-written, aren't interesting, and aren't examples of good content that we should be continually pushing to the top of the front page.

I'd dearly love the ability to have this either turned off completely, or to have the thresholds tuned - even just adjusting the score threshold to >= 1 rather than >= 0 would have a significant impact on a site so small. I'd also adjust the minimum age to more recent (say 14 days), add a maximum age of around six months so it's not bringing up ancient, long-dead recommendations that make no sense with current hardware, and require that the answer score at least 1 as well to avoid promoting minimum-effort answers.

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  • A few thoughts on this - this probably works less well on both quieter sites (since it pushes off new front page content) or on busier ones (where it gets washed away in the tide of new questions). I wonder if another mechanism might work better...
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    May 1 '20 at 14:19
  • 6
    Isn't it still useful? Bumping might result in a downvote, for example, which would make the post ineligible for further bumping. If a post isn't meeting the auto-deletion criteria, it seems reasonable to bump it so that more humans can have a chance of deciding its fate one way or the other. It sounds like most of your problems would be solved by a single downvote on such bad posts.
    – terdon
    May 1 '20 at 14:35
  • 3
    I have to disagree with the proposal here because plenty of good, legit questions about less fashionable topics get stuck as 0 votes, 0 answers tumbleweed, until the right person happens to see them, which community bumps can really help. This sounds like sweeping a moderation problem under the carpet and taking good but niche content with it. May 1 '20 at 15:28
  • 2
    On some sites, you're right, @user56reinstatemonica8. On Hardware Recs, the situation is a little different - the vast, vast majority of 0-vote stuff is stuff that's been seen and answered, but isn't good content, so just stayed there at 0 votes. That's why I'd like this to be customizable per-site - not just on or off for the whole network, but let sites customize how they want it to work for them.
    – ArtOfCode
    May 1 '20 at 16:41
  • On ja.SO, there's a feature in place such that if a certain number of bumped questions are on the homepage, no more questions will be bumped until one or more of them slide off the homepage. What do you think of that feature? Is it suitable for HR? May 1 '20 at 19:39
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My first recommendation was gonna be in line with PolyGeo’s answer, and was gonna point out your problem lies with a lack of engagement when it comes to voting on these questions... But you mention:

On Hardware Recs, the situation is a little different - the vast, vast majority of 0-vote stuff is stuff that’s been seen and answered, but isn’t good content, so just stayed there at 0 votes.

Which means these questions aren’t necessarily deserving of up- or down-votes to prevent ’em from being bumped again, and you keep getting a front page flooded with ’em. So the solution Sonic mentions is a good way to prevent that, and I’ve made it so on Hardware Recs the Community user will not bump posts if at least one in the top 5 questions, sorted by activity date, has been bumped.

To address your specific request: while I agree it could be good for communities to personalize their own settings around functions such as these, we currently don’t have a way to do that, or plans to make that available — ’ing it accordingly.

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  • You could add a status-completed tag as well - this solves the problem, even if it's not the method I suggested. Thanks!
    – ArtOfCode
    Jul 17 '20 at 8:46
  • 1
    @ArtOfCode Your request asks for this ability on all sites. Since it wasn't implemented for all sites, but an alternate feature was implemented on just one site, the tagging here is correct. Jul 17 '20 at 10:58
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As commented by @terdon, I think that this bumping is useful for such posts because:

Bumping might result in a downvote, for example, which would make the post ineligible for further bumping. If a post isn't meeting the auto-deletion criteria, it seems reasonable to bump it so that more humans can have a chance of deciding its fate one way or the other. It sounds like most of your problems would be solved by a single downvote on such bad posts.

Each day I see many bumped posts and, unless my available votes run out, I upvote each one that I think is useful, and downvote each one that I think is not useful. My upvoting helps prevent the useful posts from being bumped again, and my downvoting helps nudge those that are not useful towards the Roomba.

I think the solution to unwanted bumping is educating users in the power their upvotes and downvotes have on whether bumped posts will continue to be bumped.

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  • 1
    Yeah, but my experience is that folks are often very reluctant to downvote -- especially for questions that are borderline but not terrible -- so I don't think this takes into account how users actually behave in practice. How often does it happen that a post is bumped and it gets downvoted? I bet it's very rare. How often does it happen that a post is bumped and it gets upvoted? I have no intuition about how common that is, but it seems relevant too.
    – D.W.
    May 1 '20 at 23:25
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    I'd add to this that as a mod on a smaller site, I've on occasion been more loose with my mod hammer on these bumped questions, especially when there are some comments that OP could have used to improve their post but they haven't shown any further effort. May 2 '20 at 0:38
  • @BryanKrause I moderate a small (still Beta!) site (and a moderate sized one), and I agree that spending more time on the small ones handholding is important and does not require an enormous effort to be volunteered. As sites get into the moderate and large size ranges I think we need to become more insistent that poor content be improved or closed (sometimes removed) quickly and up/down/close/re-open voting along with commenting and editing are the tools to facilitate that.
    – PolyGeo
    May 2 '20 at 1:19

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